Sin Chew Daily
With more and more people getting immunized against the coronavirus, coupled with lower hospitalization and incidence of serious cases. The country has begun to loosen its grips as we slowly enter the “living with the virus” new normal.
On October 11, interstate travel ban nationwide was lifted and our highways began to get jam packed with cars once again. Major travel destinations across the country are also bursting at the seams.
Beginning Monday, many states and federal territories will get “promoted. Klang Valley (Selangor, KL and Putrajaya) and Melaka will proceed to the fourth phase of the national recovery plan, while Kelantan, Perak, Penang, Sabah and Kedah will move on from phase 2 to 3.
This is followed by more relaxations. All students living in phase 4 NRP states will have to go back to their schools. Years 1 to 3 primary school students and Forms 3 and 4 students will go back to their schools on Nov 1 for face-to-face learning, while Years 4 to 6 and lower secondary students will do so only from Nov 8.
More human-to-human contacts are expected as rules are relaxed, Malaysians are granted more freedom and more economic sectors are now allowed to resume operation, posing severe challenges to our battle against the virus, especially when there are still a handful of people reluctant to go for vaccination. These people may become a medium of virus transmission in an increasingly liberal environment.
As of Oct 16, some 21,430,294 people or 91.5% of the country’s adult population have been fully vaccinated, while 22,265,430 people or 95.1% of adult population have received at least one dose of the vaccine. However, there are still 4.9% or 1,144,552 adults who are unvaccinated, including those who refuse to go for vaccination.
It will be a major challenge to the government to convince these people to receive their jabs.
The public services department has instructed that vaccination will be mandated for civil servants beginning next month, even though the government has yet to mandate vaccination for members of the public.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin says the government will “make life difficult” for people refusing to go for vaccination, including barring them from dining in, visiting shopping malls or could even force them to go for weekly saliva tests on their own expenses. The purpose is clear: to “push” them to go for vaccination.
While anti-vaxxers may feel they are being discriminated or unfairly treated, the government has the obligation to safeguard the health and safety of all other people. If they insist they have the freedom to choose whether to go for vaccination or not, the rest of the society also have the right not to be put in danger by them.
Whether to go for vaccination is no more just an issue of personal choice but it entails also the interest of other people as well as the entire community.
Simply put, these people should not expose others to the risk of infection.
We have to remain constantly cautious as we learn to live with the virus. This war will eventually be won if everyone gets vaccinated and dutifully adheres to the SOPs.